Al-Qaeda has started its first Twitter account, “@shomokhalislam,” according to reports on Friday.
An official al-Qaeda website, Shamukh al-Islam, made its first account on Tuesday, reported the Washington Free Beacon. The Shamukh al-Islam site is used for communication among members.
The @shomokhalislam account has issued more than two dozen tweets as of Friday. It has more than 1,500 followers.
It appears to only tweet in Arabic, as no English messages have been sent out yet.
U.S. terrorism experts believe the account was set up to resolve a rift between Islamist rebels in Syria.
An analyst says that the account signifies that Twitter is becoming increasingly relevant for terrorists
“We’ve seen terrorist groups make increasingly effective use of social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook, in recent years,” Patrick Poole, a counterterrorism expert, told the Beacon. “Not only is this important for propaganda purposes but also recruitment.”
This week, Somalia-based terror organization al-Shabab posted a number of updates and taunted Kenyan officials on Twitter. Several of its accounts were shut down.
J.M. Berger, a U.S. based terrorism analyst, told The Associated Press that al-Shabab’s Twitter presence was sophisticated.
“The person who runs their Twitter account has obviously invested a lot of energy in the process of grabbing headlines, and for Shabab, the account allows them to amplify the message that they wish to send with the attack itself,” Berger told AP.